INTRODUCTION ITS weird and commanding beauty ; its subdued and goldless colouring ; the baffling intricacy of its fearless designs ; the clean, unwavering sweep of rounded spiral ; the creeping unduladons of serpentine forms, that writhe in artistic profusion throughout the mazes of its decorations ; the strong and legible minuscule of its text ; the quaintness of its striking portraiture ; the unwearied reverence and patient labour that brought it into being ; all of which combined go to mane up the Book of Kells, have raised this ancient Irish volume to a position of abiding preeminence amongst the illuminated manuscripts of the world. Many attempts have been made to reproduce its unique illuminations ; and, so far as form and outline are concerned, the reproductions have been as far as possible successful. But all such efforts have up till now failed to give a living representation of its marvellous pages — for without its colour harmonies no reproduction can be regarded as ade- quate from the point of view of art. The last important attempt at reproduction in colour was made about forty years ago ; but the scientific knowledge of the time was unequal to the strain sought to be put upon it. In the years which have since elapsed the science of light, photography, and colour-reproduction has made rapid advances to- wards an accuracy which was unknown when the earlier attempts were published ; and it is only by the aid of such advancement that the production of the present volume has become possible."
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Each plate accompanied by leaf with descriptive letterpress